Robert Brown Shares Story Of How Mast Helped
Him Walk By Donating His Prosthetic Leg
The Mast For Congress Campaign today released a new TV ad titled “Pay It Forward.” The ad tells the story of Robert Brown, who lost his leg to cancer more than 30 years ago. Because of rising healthcare costs and a prolonged downturn in the economy, the Brown family was unable to afford proper prosthetics, leaving Mr. Brown “in constant pain.”
In 2017, while Mr. Brown was living in Palm Beach County, Fla., he was working as the DJ at a charity event in Fort Pierce, Fla. attended by U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), who himself is a double amputee as the result of an IED exploding beneath him during a 2010 tour of duty in Afghanistan. After speaking to Mr. Brown and hearing his story at the event, Rep. Mast donated one of his used prosthetic legs to Mr. Brown to help him walk.
“When I enlisted, Brianna and I were prepared for the reality that I may never come home, but what we weren’t prepared for was that I might come home differently,” Rep. Mast said. “Losing a limb is a jarring experience that undoubtedly changes the way you move and interact with the world. When I woke up in Army Reed Medical Center without my legs, I honestly felt like I had lost my purpose in life, but with the help of so many amazing people, we were able to not just get through it but to thrive—with a new mission to give back to our community. I was honored to be able to pay it forward to the Brown family.”
Robert Brown: Before Brian Mast literally gave me one of his legs, for over 30 years I was in constant pain.
Pascale Brown: He struggled to walk. He struggled to move. When he would be around new people, he would be timid to even walk to greet them.
So, I guess I felt helpless ‘cause we looked into, you know, getting new legs and things like that, and that’s not something that we could afford at that time.
So, him saying “oh, you know, I met this guy at a fundraising event and he’s giving me a new leg,” and I was in disbelief. I actually cried when I first saw him walking straight for the first time—able to walk like a normal functioning person.
Robert Brown: I think about Brian Mast every single day. His generosity has changed my life.
In Congress, Rep. Mast has helped pass numerous bills to increase access to prosthetics. For example:
- The Medicare Part B Improvement Act—passed on July 25, 2017—included a provision to protect access to orthotics and prosthetics for Medicare beneficiaries who need them.
- H.R. 1892—signed into law on February 9, 2018—included a provision to increase access to prosthetics by authorizing documentation from orthotists and prosthetists to be included as part of an individual’s medical record.
- H.R. 5895—signed into law on September 21, 2018—provided more than $22 million for prosthetic research at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Additionally, Rep. Mast is a cosponsor of the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights, which directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to educate staff and inform veterans about the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights.